I've always found Black Friday a bit ironic. It's the day people go out and trip over each other for bargains, precisely one day after giving thanks for what they already have. The concept is also now expanding past that one day after Thanksgiving, defeating the purpose.

It's also the one time of year where, within reason, money shouldn't be an object. Isn't it the thought that counts? Easy for me to say, I don't have a lot of people to shop for. I understand pinching your pennies, we all like to save money, but getting up at 4 a.m. or earlier to shop for the cheapest gifts I can find has never been my thing.

Plus, in every Black Friday experience I have had, the items I was looking for were in limited supply--which they barely tell you in the ads--or were gone by the time I got there.

My advice for Black Friday shopping is to know what you're looking for, where to get it and stay within those parameters. When I have gone shopping on Black Friday, there are some places that are better than others.

Best Place to shop on Black Friday:  Theisens. Based on the people on my shopping list, Theisens and other local department stores like it, tend to be my favorite places to go. "More for you" is not just a slogan here. Shop local.

The comfort of your own home. The other best option is to shop right from home! Shop online, avoid the crowds, stay in your comfort zone and get what you need, without the hassle.

Worst Place to shop on Black FridayThe mall. Overcrowded with mostly useless goods, except for a couple of major department stores. Black Friday is the worst time to be at the mall. Bath and Body Works is a godsend for the females in my life, but I will go and pay a little more for the items there when it's not so busy, or shop their website.

Both the best and worst place to shop on Black Friday: Big box stores. Wal-Mart and Target are double-edged swords with quality items and low prices year-round that are even lower on Black Friday. But again, are the restless and unmanageable crowds and limited supplies on the "doorbuster" specials worth it? Unless it's a big-ticket item (that I already knew I was looking for before the ad tried to persuade me), I will take my chances on taking advantage of the deals they already have the other 364 days of the year.

What are your thoughts on the best and worst places for Black Friday shopping in Cedar Rapids? Share your advice in the comments.